"I loved my chosen. How then to face the day when she left me? So I took from her body a single cell, perhaps to love her again."It's a cliché (and Truth in Television) that when a parent finds that their child's goldfish or other beloved pet has died, they'll try to replace it with a new one and pretend the original pet never died. The Replacement Goldfish trope is when a character follows this line of thinking to fill in the emotional void of a loss they've suffered. In realistic settings, this could be an orphan taken in by a parent who has recently lost a child (to death, relocation, etc). In a sci-fi setting, the typical trope is the lonely scientist who creates a robot, android, artificial intelligence, clone in the image of the deceased. Often it's a Robot Girl or Robotic Spouse, or Robot Kid in the case of a dead child. If the new "goldfish" is unlucky, they constantly live in the shadow of the dead person and feel they can't measure up, which can also be the secret disappointment of the Mad Scientist. If unwary visitors are unlucky, the Living Doll Collector will try to use them as parts or playmates for their replacement in The Doll Episode. If this is combined with Clone by Conversion (ie. turning someone else into the person they lost), we are definitely heading into Mad Scientist territory. The Motherly Scientist is someone who legitimately loves the new creation for themselves; either as the original creator or surrogate. When a lonely scientist fills the void by cloning himself, he is a Truly Single Parent. Compare Baby-Doll Baby and Doppelganger Gets Same Sentiment. Not to be confused with the Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest.
— Commissioner Pravin Lal - "Time of Bereavement", Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
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- Y: The Last Man:
- Averted in the Distant Finale. Yorick refuses to even consider the offer implied by theories concerning bringing back any number of dead women and a sample of 355's hair.
- Played rather straight in the same series' penultimate chapter when Dr. Matsumori is revealed to have used his estranged daughter's tissue samples in the hopes of being a proper father to her this time around. Alison Mann (neé Atsuko Matsumori) is annoyed over it, but she did not like the guy anyway, even before finding out he had sabotaged her own cloning project out of sheer ego.
- Also in the Distant Finale, Yorick has dozens of Ampersand-clones who take care of him in his old age. It's implied he DID use these as replacement goldfish after he euthanized the original (it was dying of old age and miserable) but is very cynical about it. None of the clones misbehave the way he did.
- Spygirl, the Japanese knockoff of SpyBoy, is/has an entire assembly line of Replacement Goldfishes for herself. The Japanese spies don't understand why the Americans put so much effort into Spyboy if they were only going to make one. Her one solo story ends with the current model getting this explained to her via a flashback explaining a picture of her she doesn't remember taking, ending with the Spygirl in the picture dying and being replaced with her. She's then drugged to forget the whole thing and has the photo taken away, with her superior who's been flashbacking remarking that if she figures it out again, she can always be replaced.
- Painkiller Jane suffers from the same issue.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search has Kiyi, Ursa's new daughter born when she was in exile with her long-loved husband Ikem. This trope is subverted under Zuko because while Ursa and Ikem had her while under different identities in the story, Zuko never thought of her replacing him and Azula and welcomes her into his family as a loving sister. However...Azula, the self-described monster plays it straight; thinking that the reason Ursa had Kiyi was to try again after her last daughter turned into such a monster.
- During Spider-Man and Mary Jane's marriage some authors (usually former fans who started reading Spider-Man during the Lee-Romita run) wrote stories where MJ felt like she couldn't measure up to Spidey's first love, Gwen Stacy (even though technically his first love as Betty Brant), despite stories by various writers demonstrating that Peter loved MJ as much or more than Gwen ever since the original Clone Saga. But hey, it's not like THAT'S a problem any more! Hell, it was shown in House of M that his heart's desire is to be married to Gwen and to a father a kid with her (or rather, his heart's desire was to have saved Uncle Ben, George Stacy and Gwen Stacy, and Fridge Logic dictates they would have married if she'd lived).
- Part of the reason Jason Todd went nuts after his resurrection was because he thought Batman just replaced him without question with Tim Drake. The other part was that Jason's killer was still alive. In many ways, Jason was just a replacement for Dick, which only added to the resentment he felt. Some of the different versions of his origin story went so far as to say he was a natural redhead who dyed his hair black like Dick's — or was made to dye his hair by Batman. Though this is actually justified: Suddenly having a redheaded Robin when Bruce Wayne had just taken on a redheaded ward would've been suspicious, to say the least. Black hair minimized the switch.
- The problems of the marriage of Hank Pym (Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket) and Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) have often been traced back to the fact that what first got Hank interested in Jan was that she reminded him of his murdered first wife.
- There was a brief period where Captain America took on Rick Jones as his new sidekick because the boy looked and sounded exactly like Bucky Barnes, Cap's apparently dead partner from World War II. The writers realized this was kind of creepy and eventually had Cap ditch Rick in favor of The Falcon, who needless to say looked nothing like Bucky. This was lampshaded years later in an Alias story line which featured excerpts from Rick's autobiography. Rick compared his tenure as Cap's partner to a boy who only dated a girl because she reminded him of his ex-girlfriend.
Cyclops: Why don't you dress as Nomad again and watch your book get almost cancelled?Captain America: Why don't you go ask Emma Frost what to do and say next?Cyclops: Why don't you dress Rick Jones as Bucky again and creep everybody out?
- There's also Captain America's girlfriend, Sharon Carter. During the war, Cap had an affair with an American woman who was fighting with the French Resistance named Peggy Carter. After his defrost, he noticed a woman who looked freakishly similar to her. This was Sharon, who was originally her much-younger sister but has become a niece with more recent retcons and Comic-Book Time forcing Peggy to be older and older. Peggy, unfortunately, was too old for Cap by the time he was unfrozen, so he got with Sharon and she got with Howling Commando Gabe Jones.
- Havok from the X-Men was adopted as a child... by parents seeking to replace their dead son. How they got past psychological screening is anyone's guess, but then again, future X-Villain Mr. Sinister was the one running the place.
- In Maus, Art's mother sometimes treated him like this, comparing him to his brother Richieu, who died in childhood years before Art was born (today, she would be diagnosed with manic depression, but back then she was just "crazy"). Art also talks about how he has a sibling rivalry with his dead brother. Vladek also sometimes calls Art "Richieu". Whether this is an honest mistake that every parent with multiple children makes or a Freudian Slip is intentionally ambiguous. It's possibly a mix of both considering the traumatic circumstances surrounding Richelieu's death.
- The Beano's back page was originally a story called Tin-Can Tommy, about a robot boy built by a professor after his son died. The professor later built a brother for Tommy, called Babe.
- In a way, E-123 Omega in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog was this for Commander Tower. He wanted Shadow to get E-102 Gamma because he turned himself into something of an assassin. However, circumstances forced Gamma to perform a Fusion Dance of sorts with Omega, leading to Tower to take up Omega instead.
- This trope is played with in Emile Bravo's series Une épatante aventure de Jules, e. g. in the relationship between Janet and Janis in the second album and with Jules's pet guinea pig in the fourth.
- In Convergence, Pre-Flashpoint Mera and Lois Lane to the Flashpoint Aquaman and Superman respectively. Aquaman tries to force Mera into accepting him, and while Superman (Subject-One) comes across as kind of creepy, he really thinks this Lois is his Lois and only wants to protect her.
- Death of Wolverine has Abraham Cornelius, one of the people responsible for the Weapon X program, restart the program. The only one of his colleagues we really see is a woman who looks like the late Carol Hines, one of his colleagues from the original program who he's implied to have had a crush on.
- This is the reason Thomas Blake Jr. was born. Tommy's mother, Cheshire, was coerced into joining the Secret Six by threats made against her daughter Lian's life. Cheshire, being the manipulative sociopath that she is, gets around this arrangement by seducing her teammate Catman and using him to conceive a new baby. That way Cheshire can leave the Six and no matter what happens to Lian, she'll still have a child. Cheshire even referred to Tommy after he was conceived as her replacement child.
- An interesting version with the ending to Archie vs. Predator when Betty uses a special machine to heal and alter the Predator that killed everyone except for her and Veronica and turning him into a replacement Archie. This is because it fell in love with them and it's implied to be a Fate Worse than Death.
- It's established that, aside from Iris West, the person most important to Barry Allen (the second Flash) is his former sidekick, Wally West (the first Kid Flash and third Flash). When Wally returns from having been rebooted out of existence, it reminds Barry of how lonely he is. Wally goes off to join his friends and investigate the circumstances around his disappearance. Coincidentally, his cop friend August Heart gains superspeed a short time later, and Barry takes August on as his protege. It's heavily implied that Barry took August on as a replacement for Wally.
- Power Girl in the Post Crisis/Pre-New 52 was subjected to the unwanted advances of Vartox, a alien monarch from the planet Valerian who sought her help to save his world from extinction by repopulating it. While she helped cure his people's sterility, she made very clear she wasn't interested romantically in him nevermind how many times he persisted. Fast-forward to DC Rebirth and its revealed that Vartox has married an alternate universe version of Power Girl and formed a massive family with her.
- Black Science includes a brief story about two parents whose children die. Bereaved, they travel to a parallel dimension to kidnap replacements from an alternate version of themselves.
- Pokéumans: Any person that transforms into a Pokeuman, whether they get rescued by the good guys or captured by the bad guys, is replaced by an identical clone with the same memories as the person they replaced, so that even they think they are the real one. So you could be one.
- In Harry Potter And The Portrait Of What Looked Like A Large Pile Of Ash, Hagrid apparently got a bridge dropped on him, because Dumbledore ceremoniously knights a pig with these words: "You are Hagrid now."
- In World in Pieces an alternate-universe Draco Malfoy tries to turn the Rowling-universe Harry into a replacement for his boyfriend, the late alternate-Harry. Canon Harry strongly objects.
- In Harry Potter: Master of Luck Harry had a pet mouse which his accidental magic turned into an Inferius after Dudley stepped on it.
It was like a parent replacing a dying pet with another that looked like the first, but taken to the extreme of an emotional and powerful young wizard making it happen through sheer juvenile force of will.
- In A Marauder's Plan McGonagall tells Harry that she'd never been suspicious about "Scabbers"' longevity because she assumed Ron's parents were carrying out this trope, admitting that her own parents had done it with her.
..."I got a pet fish called Bubbles when I was five. I loved watching Bubbles swim around in her fish-bowl. My mother told me later in life that there were actually twenty different Bubbles until I was the one who found her dead one morning rather than my parents."
"Oh." Harry suddenly remembered the goldfish Dudley had won one year at the town fair. It had died rather quickly and his Aunt Petunia had replaced it with an identical looking goldfish. Obviously Dudley had gotten bored soon after and when that one had died, it hadn't been replaced.
- After Fratello's death, Brain builds a replacement Fratello in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III.
- Ichigo from Getting it Right has a real problem with this, since he's secretly from an Alternate Universe and often feels inferior to the version of himself that he replaced, which isn't helped by how he lacks a lot of the original's experiences and personality. Everyone who's met him and knows the truth, however, is of the opinion that all of the most important things about them are the same, and that he has just as much worth as the original.
- In Fixing What Has Been Broken the real Harry Potter died at birth and a distraught James kidnapped one of a set of twins from the St. Mungo's nursery and charmed the baby to look like him and Lily.
- In The Vanishing Cabinet of Time Amelia Bones asks Dumbledore why he was never suspicious about "Scabbers"' extra-long lifespan.
Dumbledore: Parents have secretly replaced dead or lost pets with identical ones for many years. My brother had a goldfish when he was a young boy. He never knew that it was in fact three different fish representing the same pet.
Amelia: That may be. But this rat had a distinct injury - a missing finger. Are you telling me Arthur and Molly were cruel enough to cut off rats' toes?
- In Accepting the Truth James and Lily Potter tell Harry that they never had kids while they were in hiding because they felt it would have been an instance of this trope.
- Pony POV Series: Onyx Tiara/Filthy Rich started having one night stands with mares who resembled his wife Golden Tiara to ease the loneliness and depression he felt because his wife is in the insane asylum and seems incurable. He eventually realized his behavior was inappropriate and stopped. One of his one night stands, his maid Shiny Star, fell in love with him and attempted to continue the affair, but he firmly told her no and she listened.
- The Time Fixers: Nicktoons of the Future story "Dayscare" has SpongeTron do this with Junior after Max goes to daycare by treating Junior like baby that needs to be taken care of every minute of the day. Darry's analysis of the situation says it all.
Darry: Obviously, SpongeTron misses Max, more importantly he misses the feel of being needed. Thus, he directs this behavior towards the youngest of our group, which is [Junior], to cope with his loss.
- In The Powerpuff Girls Dark Fic Unstrung, Buttercup dies on a mission. Several days later, an obsessed Blossom tries to revive her in order to kill her and transplant Buttercup's memories into her. She creates a replica of Buttercup at five years old however can't bare to kill her. The girl doesn't have Buttercup's memories. Blossom decides to raise her as a little sister named Ashley. Ashley is overly violent due to being created using Buttercup's ashes and ends up killing a man on her first attempt at crime-fighting. She kills herself the same day.
- In Harry Potter: Neko's Mate Alastor Moody questions Percy Weasley about "Scabbers"' longevity.
Moody: And this is the same rat which has been in your possession all this time? It isn't possible that your parents switched out rats to fool you, because your original rat died? Some parents do that with hamsters and goldfish.
- Fade: Beyond Birthday's desire to save Light from L (and his implied crush on him) is motivated by Light's similarities with the late A.
- Naruto fanfics that portray Kakashi as training Sasuke while ignoring Naruto and Sasuke tend to have the reason being that Kakashi sees Sasuke as and is trying to make him into his not really dead childhood friend/teammate Obito.
- In Ambience: A Fleet Symphony, Hatsuyuki's late head developer modelled her appearance after The Lost Lenore. She called him out on this, calling it pathetic and creepy, like making his own blow-up doll. These were the last words she ever got to say to him, and she wishes to present day that they could have parted on more amiable terms.
- Callaghan from Bruises decides to kidnapp Hiro Hamada to replace his daughter Abigail, forcing the kid to cut his hair like her, dress like her and pretend he enjoys the same things as her. This is just as creepy as it sounds.
- In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Brainy becomes this after Empath's mother loses her first son to her husband (Papa Smurf) bringing him to Psychelia only to be (supposedly) killed by the Psyche Master, though she ends up having Brainy through another Smurf that she loved. Years later, Papa Smurf adopts Brainy as his own son when his estranged wife dies.
- A wand for Steven: Hermione is somewhat this for Steven, replacing Connie after being forced to leave her behind in their home universe.
Films — Animation
- In Mary and Max, Max gets a new goldfish after each of his previous ones dies, each new goldfish being named "Henry (Roman Numeral)". There's a montage that shows the passing of several Henrys.
- The Professor does this twice in The Nightmare Before Christmas. The first is Sally, who proves very undesirable, rebellious and disobedient. Exasperated, the Professor gives her freedom and makes a female robot who uses half of his own brain.
"Think of the conversations we'll have, my dear."
- Just the once, actually - Sally was the first goldfish. Presumably, before Sally, he did his own freakin' housework.
- Maybe this is more like a Replacement Beta following the Goldfish, since the doctor treats Sally like an annoying child, but replaces her with a wife.
- It's also worth pointing out that it was Sally's suggestion in the first place.
- In Disney's Tarzan, the titular character was adopted by Kala who recently lost her baby to Sabor. Kala and Kerchak did agree that Tarzan "could never replace the one [they] lost."
- Averted in Charlotte's Web. It's stated that while Charlotte's daughters do become Wilbur's new friends and help soothe the pain of her death, they can't replace her.
- In Toy Story 3, when Lotso returns to the little girl who accidentally left him behind at a picnic trip, he is shocked to discover that her parents bought her an identical Lots-O'-Huggin' bear.
Films — Live-Action
- In Vertigo, Scottie molds the brunette Judy into the image of the elegant blond Madeleine after the latter woman breaks his heart by committing suicide. Cruelly ironic once learned that Judy really is the "Madeleine" he'd known — she impersonated the real Madeleine as part of Elster's plan to cover up his murder of his wife.
- In A.I., the android child David is adopted as a replacement for Henry and Monica's comatose son. The problems really begin when the "real" son wakes up. Android David was also created in the image of Professor Hobby's dead son David.
- Although unable to build a Ridiculously Human Robot, the computer programmer from WarGames did name the military's nuke-controlling AI "Joshua" after his dead child.
- In North one of the title character's several adoptive families almost immediately start trying to shape him into the image of their dead son. Extra creepy because this appears to merely be a pleasant bonus to their stated goal of having the biggest of everything in Texas - son included.
- Ripley and Newt's relationship had overtones of this in Aliens (Ripley had a daughter, who died while she was in cryosleep - but that scene was cut). The scene appeared in the first TV showing of the film, and is on the DVD release, as part of the regular narrative, not as a "deleted scene" bonus. It's also worth noting that Ripley was in cryosleep for an unplanned 50 years, during which her daughter grew up, grew old, and died a natural death. She didn't die as a child. But that makes Ripley's loss more profound, because she missed out on an entire long life, while her daughter never knew what happened to her.
- Violet and the Creepy Child in Ultraviolet.
- In an attempt to replace their stillborn daughter, Kate and John Coleman adopted a mysteriously intelligent nine year old Russian Orphan called Esther into their family.... Big mistake.
- The Francis Ford Coppola version of the story of Dracula had the title character attracted to Mina because of her resemblance to his lost wife Elizabeta, who killed herself (and in the church's view, damned herself) because of a false report of his death spread by his enemies, which led to Dracula renouncing God and becoming a vampire.
- In the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis, Mad Scientist Rotwang builds a Ridiculously Human Robot to replace Hel (named for the Norse goddess Hel), the woman he loved, but who married someone else and then died in childbirth. On the most literal level, she's Rotwang's replacement goldfish, but on some level, she also serves that function for most of the major characters. (In addition, she becomes Maria's Evil Twin — or, more precisely, her evil Doppelgänger.)
- At the end of Face/Off, Sean Archer adopts Castor Troy's son to fill the void left by his murdered son.
- In Eve and the Fire Horse, a little Chinese-Canadian girl is told that the souls of the dead sometimes return as goldfish. She asks for (and gets) one, literally to take the place of her grandmother who has just died.
- The 6th Day is made of this trope. "Re-pet" is a company that will clone your dead dog/cat/fish and give it the memories of the deceased. While cloning humans is illegal, the bad guys get reborn this way. Subverted with a scientist's wife. It's brought up, but the woman specifically asks her husband not to bring her back. An extra twist is that she's dying from a genetic disease the Evil Company gave her in the first place.
- A double example occurs in Interview with the Vampire (and in the book as well). Claudia wants to make Madeline a vampire to replace Louis who she fears will leave her for Armand. Madeline is fully willing to become a vampire so Claudia (who can never die) can replace her deceased daughter. It's almost a triple example. Claudia either can't grow, or is growing very slowly. She asks for Louis to make Madeline a vampire so she can do what Claudia cannot, since she is physically a child.
- James Bond sees all of his various Love Interests as replacement Tracies, the one he actually married (or perhaps, as replacement Vespers, the first one he actually fell in love with).
- One of the big reveals at the end of Ne Te Retourne Pas ("Don't Look Back") involves this. The real Jeanne died in a car accident when she was a child, and her mother raised Rosa Maria to take her place.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson are mutual Replacement Goldfish to each other, as both men had previously lost their closest right-hand ally in combat. Sam's fallen wingman even bore a strong physical resemblance to Steve.
- In Captain America: Civil War Sharon Carter is this to Steve Rogers after Peggy Carter dies.
- In The White Ribbon, when Piepsi the songbird dies, the Pastor's youngest offers the bird he has nursed to health to replace him. Because his father seemed so sad
- In Underworld Viktor turns Selene into a vampire because she was the spitting image of his daughter. Who he had killed hundreds of years before.
- In Meet the Parents, Greg Focker wanted to be the one to find his girlfriend's family's cat that had been lost (and was going to be the ring bearer in a wedding) to impress his girlfriend's father. He managed to find a cat that was the same color except without the tip orange of the tail, which Greg spray painted. Obviously, Greg was found out.
- Justin Hammer, wanting to ensure the work of his new engineer Ivan Vanko runs smoothly, buys him a new cockatoo and tries to pass it off as the original, flown in all the way from Russia, in Iron Man 2. Vanko instantly recognizes it as a fake, and calls him on it - but it's shown later that he likes the new bird and has kept it anyway.
- In X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto essentially replaces Mystique (who lost her powers while trying to protect him) with Callisto.
- In Sliver, protagonist Carly is this to her two potential love interests, given her eerie resemblance to the woman who was murdered in the film's opening and whom they both lusted after. Particularly frightening as one of them is most certainly the killer in question.
- In Gandhi, Gandhi counsels a Hindu who has murdered a Muslim child after his own child was killed by Muslims. Gandhi tells the Hindu that his penance is to find a child whose own parents were killed and raise him as his own, but the child must be a Muslim child and raised as a Muslim.
- In 10 Cloverfield Lane, is is implied that Howard never got over the loss of his daughter who was taken away by his ex-wife. So he kidnapped a young woman and held her against her will as a replacement daughter. And he started doing the same thing again with the heroine Michelle.
- In Voice from the Stone, Klaus sees Nurse Verena as an acceptable substitute for his late wife and even allows her to dress in her clothing when he sees the resemblance between the two.
- Penny Serenade: For the happy ending, after Roger and Julia's 6-year-old adopted daughter Trina dies of an illnesss. Roger has announced that he is leaving, unable to bear anything that reminds him of Trina. Roger and Julie are about to go their separate ways when Miss Oliver calls, telling them that she's gotten a new baby, reminiscent of the blue-eyed blond they asked for years ago. Roger and Julie reconcile at this, telling Miss Oliver that they'll be right over.
- The Devil's Advocate: Implied. After Kevin's wife Mary Ann has been Driven to Suicide and Milton offers Christabella as a replacement, she's adopted the same curly hairstyle as Mary Ann (whereas she had straight hair before this scene).
- One joke lampshades the use of this trope in science fiction:
"I saw a movie today.""What was it about?""Oh, you know, the same old story. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy builds new girl."
- Ron White of Blue Collar Comedy makes reference to this when his girlfriend's dog died, but after she proved inconsolable he took her to a pet store and she found a new dog to love. Then...
"A few weeks ago her father passed away, and I'm thinking "I think I see a way out of this." We get in the car, and she doesn't know we're going to the old folks home..."
- The song "Silver Bride" by the folk metal band Amorphis is about a widower who creates a woman of gold and silver to serve as this. It was inspired by a passage from The Kalevala, the Finnish national epic that has inspired much of Amorphis' work.
- In The Protomen's Rock Opera, Mega Man is a goldfish for the fallen Proto Man. In a way, Proto Man could be seen as a variation - the son Dr Light never had, since Wily murdered his girlfriend.
"They call you hero. I call you my son."
- As well as one for Sniper Joe.
- The Megas version of Protoman also sees Megaman as this.
- Alson in The Megas Doctor Lights' song is about how Megaman is the Replacement Goldfish for the son he never had. Unlike most example the song has Doctor Light loving him unconditionally and is scared to death that he has to send out his son to fight Doctor Wily, as he's the only one that can do so.
- The title character of the Voltaire song "The Mechanical Girl" was created by a tinker who had lost his daughter and made her to be a new one. Although Voltaire takes pains to avert this trope; the tinker is specifically making himself a new daughter, not a clone of the former one:
''"...his daughter passed away that summerand though he knew he could not replace herhe missed his family"''
Myth and Religion
- A Biblical example: early in the Book of Job, Job has great worldly wealth, respect and honor, and ten wonderful children. Then, Satan kills off all seven of his sons and three of his daughters. At the end of the Book of Job, Job marries again and sires a replacement seven sons and three daughters, and said daughters are specifically stated to be the most beautiful in the land.
- In The Kalevala, mythical master smith Ilmarinen is widowed and, in his loneliness, searches for a new wife. No maiden accepts him, fearing to meet the fate of his dead wife. Having forged the sky and the miracle machine Sampo, he decides to make himself a perfect wife from silver and gold. It turns out badly, as the new wife says nothing, feels nothing, and is as cold as a stone. In the end, disappointed Ilmarinen pushed her back into the forge, destroying her.
- In Exalted, the Celestial Exalted get reborn after they die. The Exalted part goes on into a new person, retaining some small bits of its memories and personality traits, while the human part dies. Most new Exalts are treated by their peers that remember their previous lives as being the same person, even though they are not and have personalities of their own. (Swan was Desus, Contentious Sword etc)
- In the storyline for the Magic: The Gathering set Planeshift, Yawgmoth (the Big Bad) grants Crovax (the Dragon) a Replacement Goldfish for his lost love, Selenia. Later Crovax lures Gerrard (the main protagonist) to the dark side with false promises of a Replacement Goldfish of his own, though Gerrard sees through the ruse in time. It is unclear whether Crovax realizes that his Selenia Mark II is not the genuine article.
- In 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, there is an Epic Destiny called "Hordemaster." As one of its features, you gain a number of followers that, upon your death, take up your mantle until such a time you can be resurrected. Conveniently, your replacement is mechanically identical to you, but your party might not be so warm to him/her.
- Angron of Warhammer 40,000 may have pulled this on an entire Legion of Space Marines. One of the Emperor's Primarchs, Angron landed on a world where slave gladiators were the heart of the entertainment industry. Taken as a slave, he received the same cranial implants as the rest of them: the Butcher's Nails, a literal, if permanently on, Berserk Button. When the Emperor reached his homeworld, Angron was in the midst of leading a slave revolt, and refused to leave his "Eaters of Cities", even though certain death awaited in the next battle. The Emperor teleported him away just before the battle and threw him into command of the War Hounds Legion while half-mad with grief, leading to the deaths of several members of the Legion before one managed to get through to Angron and convince him to accept them...but with a name change to "Eaters of Worlds" (World Eaters to outsiders), and the Butcher's Nails implanted across the Legion.
- Inadvertently done in Miss Saigon: The role of Ellen, the woman Chris marries after returning from Vietnam, was usually played by a blonde or redhead. However, towards the end of the show's Broadway run, an Asian actress was cast in the part. Suddenly, instead of moving on with his life as he insisted that he had, it now seemed fairly obvious that Chris only married Ellen because she reminded him of his lost love Kim.
- Corneilla Luna played the role of Kim in the Toronto production and the role of Ellen in the UK touring production, making her the only actress to do so, and a near-literal example of the "goldfish" trope.
- This has happened in the current London revival also with Natalie Chua as one of the understudies for Ellen.
- Two examples in Love Never Dies:
- The Phantom uses Meg Giry as a poor-man's Christine after he leaves Paris for New York (the lampshading of which causes an enraged Meg to kill the real Christine.)
- The Phantom builds a full fledged Christine robot. Yes, really.
- Heavily implied in Romeo and Juliet:
- The nurse speaks about how she lost her daughter, who was Juliet's age (she nursed them both), and she treats Juliet as her daughter instead. (Besides that, her husband is also dead. This probably explains why she's still living with the Capulets after all these years—she lost her family, and she adopted a new one.)
- Tybalt's parents are never shown, and he seems to be very close to his cousin's family, even fiercely self-identifying as a Capulet, although Lady Capulet claims he's "her brother's child" so, technically, he wouldn't take the Capulet name, being related to Lord Capulet only by marriage.note The family's grief at his death is so strong that modern adaptations, like West Side Story, often go right ahead and make him Juliet's brother. It's been suggested that Tybalt's parents are dead, and that he considers his aunt and uncle to be his parents. Lord and Lady Capulet are said to have lost many children besides Juliet, including (probably) sons, which might make this a two-way Replacement Goldfish.
- Lady Capulet is herself only 26. She might be a Replacement Goldfish for her much-older husband's first wife.
- In the Offenbach opera Tales of Hoffmann, Dr. Coppelius makes a clockwork image of his dead daughter, whom he passes off as the original. Hoffmann falls in love with her and this makes the clockwork go haywire.
- Invoked unsuccessfully in Pippin: when Pippin is trying to cheer up Theo after his duck gets sick and dies, he brings him a lamb (or, in one production, a puppy). Theo takes one look at it, says, "That's not a duck, dummy!" and runs off.
- In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni made MechaMew2 to replace Mewtwo, who escaped from him.
- Little Eyolf, Asta Allmers is considered this by Rita and Alfred after the death of the eponymous character (their son). The fact that Alfred and Asta grew up as siblings and he repeatedly treated her like a brother and called her "Eyolf" doesn´t help - and Asta is pretty creeped out when both Rita and Alfred clings to her for support. She takes another option and leaves quickly.
- In Little Busters!, whenever Komari witnesses blood or death, her repressed memories of her dead brother come out and force her into a Heroic B.S.O.D.. The only way she can wrench herself out of that state is to pretend that some kind of appropriate nearby person is actually her brother and act like nothing is wrong as a Stepford Smiler until she can push her negative feelings back down enough again. In the good end Riki manages to break her out of the cycle and force her to accept reality, but in the bad end he agrees to pretend to be her brother and they stay that way.
- Dangan Ronpa:
- In chapter three the students find a laptop containing the program Alter Ego. It was built by Fujisaki, who was murdered in the previous chapter, and looks just like him. It also serves as a replacement for Oowada after Alter Ego creates a simulation of him to cheer Ishimaru up
- In the spinoff game Absolute Despair Girls it appears Monaka is trying to turn herself into one for Junko Enoshima. Albeit the original plan was to corrupt Komaru.
- In To the Moon it is revealed that Johnny once had a twin brother called Joey, who was their mother's favorite son, however Joey was killed when his mother accidentally ran over him, and after that Johnny became this trope in his mother's mind, going as far as Johnny adopting Joey's tastes, his mother always calling him "Joey", and even she making him take beta blockers which caused Johnny to forget everything about Joey.
- It's revealed in Zero Time Dilemma that this was the reason Sigma created Luna before the events of Virtue's Last Reward. His wife Diana died to a circulatory illness gained from the moon's weak gravity about three years into the 45 years of development for the AB project, so Sigma created a robot in her image partially to fill the void and partially to give him a semblance of company while living in solitude on the moon. Luna does come to start to develop feelings for Sigma, but feels she's Just a Machine and can't ever act on them. And while Sigma loves her, he only feels he can love her as a daughter and not romantically.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Lucy on both sides of it, with her being this for Mike's lost love interest Sandy, and Paulo being her replacement Goldfish when Mike rejects her. It doesn't go well for her either time.
- As we find out, Marena from Keychain of Creation is actually Misho's lover in his past life and he remembers her as such, not as the current-day Marena. This causes a lot of frustration.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace's DNA was artificially crafted, but the project was hijacked into a replacement for a scientist's daughter, who died in a car crash. Grace considers the original Grace her mother and calls the scientist her grandfather.
- Considering the method of reproduction of the Uryuoms, that's actually the relationship she has with them.
- This xkcd strip has one character describe doing this in a video game, and then start to evoke a "troubling" extension of the concept to real life.
- A somewhat strange example in Girl Genius involves the Sturmvoraus family. After Anevka Sturmvoraus is exposed to the Geisterdamen's summoning machine by her father, her brother, Tarvek, builds a life-support chamber connected to a pneumatic clockwork girl, so that she can still communicate with the outside world while being kept alive and protected. The puppet becomes sentient to the degree that when the organic Anevka actually dies, it goes on believing that it is still being controlled by a living master, instead of being self-aware, and fools everyone but Tarvek as well. Eventually, the Anevka personality of the puppet is deactivated after it turns out to have "inherited" a little too much of the family's betrayal gene, and is replaced by the personality of The Other.
- Zigzagged-to-averted in Gunnerkrigg Court. Antimony is part-fire elemental, which means that, due to Bizarre Alien Biology, she literally took her mother's soul when she was born. The end result is that she greatly (but-not-completely) resembles her mother, which distresses her father to no end, caught as he is between this trope and Maternal Death? Blame the Child, despite not wanting to play into either of them.
- In Misfile, Ash is Kate's surrogate for her dead sister. Kate explicitly saying she needs to find a sister in her in one strip. Naturally, boy turned girl Ash finds this turn of events rather disconcerting, to say the least.
- Used very literally in the beginning of Abe Kroenen where Kroenen's initial interest in Abe came because Abe reminded him of his dead goldfish Wolfram.
- The episode "Caroline's Doppelganger" from A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible uses this trope heartbreakingly.
Father: Darling, you can't spend every day searching for your real self. You'll waste living the pale reflection of her life!
- In Sluggy Freelance, this occurs several times to underline the repeated theme "that which redeems, consumes". First, the Riff from the Dimension of Lame accidentally killed Torg and Kiki in an experiment, so, in order to redeem himself, he kidnapped their counterparts from an alternate universe to replace them. Then, when the AU Torg tried to get back home, DOL-Riff tried to get him back, inadvertently kidnapping the Torg from the main Sluggy-verse as his replacement. And he apparently repeated this process at least five times. This led to The Legions of Hell invading and ravaging the world, all because Riff wanted to make things right. And then, when Torg returns home, he finds that his version of Riff went to the same lengths to get one for him, kidnapping a squid-monster version of Torg from Another Dimension and hiring cloners to create a clone of Torg.
- Corsica has also been replaced at least 37 times. Hereti-Corp has a long standing business account with the local pet shop. Of course, since Corsica is a non-sapient frog, this is easier to do, and certainly explains why Frog has never figured this out.
- Done horrifyingly in Dubious Company, when Raque realizes Elly looks like a younger version of her beloved king.
- In one Story Minute, after a woman writes a "Dear John" letter and leaves her husband, he builds a robot duplicate of her. "The second time, she didn't leave a note."
- Epsilon in Red vs. Blue acts as a replacement goldfish best friend for Caboose, replacing Church. Of course, he has the original's personality and memories, so it's not too big of a deal for him.
- And then he is replaced by Washington. Church originally takes it with a sour attitude, but eventually learns to accept it by the end of Season 10.
- Agent Texas was one of these for Director, to replace the original Allison.
- Rooster Teeth had a great moment during their Minecraft episodes. One Running Gag in the series was Ryan's pet cow, Edgar - the animal kept wandering in to his house, so Ryan dug a pit, put in a glass ceiling, and kept Edgar in a dungeon of sorts that thoroughly disturbed the rest of the cast. During "King Ryan, Part 1," Michael snuck into Ryan's house and broke Edgar out, only to find at the end of "King Ryan, Part 2" that the dungeon was back and so was the cow. Ryan had spotted Michael's work and silently led a new cow into his house, then repaired the dungeon while the others were busy. When Michael protested that Edgar was still free (actually, Geoff unwittingly harvested him for leather), Ryan clarified that "Edgar is the one in the hole."
- She's still around, but since Nella gained the confidence to tell The Nostalgia Chick that she was going too far with the abuse, Elisa unwillingly filled the abused best friend role.
- In Demo Reel, Rebecca Stone unknowingly is this for director Donnie, replacing his dead actress mom. They have the same Raven Hair, Ivory Skin, the same issues with the industry and she keeps getting roles in his movies where the original dies, but the remake makes them survive or come back to life in ways that don't make sense.
- In Atop the Fourth Wall, Harvey considered Linkara to be a replacement for his deceased son, although he wouldn't admit it. The 2012 Christmas episodes involved the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future trying to get Harvey to accept his son's death and that Linkara will never replace him.
- Taken Up to Eleven in Twitch Plays Pokémon Emerald: the day after accidentally releasing her Oddish, A went to the Safari Zone and caught twenty-nine Oddish and a Gloom. One of them ended up as a member of the party, was evolved into Vileplume, and named Cabbage the White after Cabbage, the released Gloom from Twitch Plays Pokémon Red.
- Danielle in Danny Phantom was created as an imperfect clone of the main character (not only physically younger and female, but with an unstable body). She was a stepping stone on the way to creating a perfected clone and, when she found out, turned into a Tyke-Bomb.
- Odd spin: In Transformers: Beast Wars, Megatron had a habit of making replacement Dinobots. An organic one was made after he defected to the good guys and the transmetal Dinobot II after his Heroic Sacrifice. Megatron seemed pleased with these clones (Dinobot II was basically his second in command), except when they followed their template's footsteps a little too closely.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh begins treating his nephew Zuko like a son after his own child, Lu Ten, dies in battle. He seems to love Zuko for who he is, however, and doesn't project Lu Ten onto him. Since Zuko is also DESPERATELY in need of a (good) father figure, it all works out. Usually. In the end, it definitely does.
- In The Venture Bros., the accident-prone titular brothers have killed themselves numerous times, only to be replaced by identical clones (with their memories implanted) every time, a major plot point at the beginning of the second season. Sociopath Dr. Venture seems to think this is no big deal.
- South Park:
- When Kenny was Killed Off for Real, the boys tried to make Butters dress in Kenny's coat and even called him Kenny until he stopped cooperating. Another episode implied there were different Kennys and their parents named each new kid "Kenny" to replace the last one. Then in the "Coon and Friends" trilogy it's subverted when it turns out that every child they have after Kenny dies IS Kenny being literally being reborn as a Hand Wave to him being killed and being back next episode. It's also gotten to the point where Kenny will shoot himself in the head when tired since he'll wake up the next day in his bed.
- After Kyle is taken away by Apple to become part of the first HUMANCENTiPAD, Gerald and the boys go to the Geniuses for help. The Genuises offer them a replacement friend.
- The Simpsons:
- In the Treehouse of Horror segment "B.I.: Bartifical Intelligence," Bart, the original goldfish, wakes from his coma, builds himself a robotic shell, and comes back for revenge.
- And then there's the time (widower) Flanders offers a bed for the night to an old flame...who wakes up to find Flanders cutting her hair to match Maude's.
- In "The Luck of the Fryrish", Philip Fry is upset that his brother Yancy took the name Philip and accomplished all of Philip Fry's goals. However, it turns out that the Philip Fry of history was actually Philip Fry II, Yancy's son. Yancy named his son out of admiration for his brother.
- In the sixth season episode "Rebirth", Fry builds a robot as a replacement Leela after the real Leela ends up in a coma. Then doubled — it turns out that Fry was a robot created by the real Leela after the real Fry died. The two robots are promptly paired off.
- In the episode "Godfellas", the crew tries to cheer Fry up by giving him a replacement Robot Buddy for Bender who went missing. It doesn't work.
- In The Animals of Farthing Wood, refusing to accept the fact that his friend Mole died, Badger mistakes his son Mossy for him because he looked just like him, he eventually dies without learning the truth that Mole had long since died and that he'd been talking to his son the whole time.
- Recess: In "Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye," we see the death and funeral of Speedy the Hamster, who'd been a classroom fixture for some time. As the students, staff, and former students start sharing fond memories it soon arises that everyone has rather different memories of Speedy; it had/didn't have spots, loved/hated apples, it was a boy/girl, etc. Turns out that "Speedy" been constantly replaced over the last forty years, "which is rather long-lived for a hamster," as noted by Gretchen.
- The American Dad! episode "You Debt Your Life" features Roger moving out of the Smith's house, so Stan finds a replacement Roger in the form of Andy Dick. They also had a very literal example in "Finances with Wolves", when Klaus gets his brain put into a black man and he flushes his goldfish body, but by the end, he winds up back in a completely new but identical goldfish body.
- Unintentionally (and rather subtly) done in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). When Hamato Yoshi loses his wife and baby daughter to an attack by Oroku Saki, he moves to New York and buys four baby turtles for company. One encounter with the Kraang and some Mutagen later, and Hamato suddenly has four new sons to take care of.
- Played for slightly-creepy laughs in The Amazing World of Gumball, when Darwin is mistaken for a genius and taken away for study. His parents take in Rocky, dress him up as Darwin, call him 'Rockwin' and tell him to call them Mom and Dad. Darwin is a goldfish, making this is literal example as well. Back when he was still a pet, Darwin himself was also a literal example for the first two Darwins. "The Origins" reveals that there were a lot more than two Darwins before him. The Wattersons' negligence, stupidity, and bad luck killed many a goldfish.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Princess Celestia might have regarded Twilight Sparkle as being this for Sunset Shimmer.
- In Phantom 2040, we eventually learn that Doctor Jack designed Pavlova as a replacement for his deceased wife of the same name. He is not pleased when the robot inevitably develops into her own person.
- In Gravity Falls, Grunkle Stan treats the wax dummy of himself like his long-lost brother, which seems at that time a joke about his ego.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 100, Kaeloo, after undergoing Sanity Slippage and not having seen her friends for about a year, selects three flowers, gives them similar names to her friends, and treats the flowers the same way she would normally treat her friends.
- In one episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Mac and Bloo look through the house's annual family photos and find one where everyone but Madame Foster and Frankie is strangely absent. Bloo's first theory: a Galactic Conqueror came and abducted everyone. When Mac asks him how everyone came back the next year, Bloo reasons that they never came back and Madame Foster built robot replacements for all of them.
- This has been a major problem with divorced families with teenaged kids still living at home. The mother unconsciously starts treating her son as a replacement husband or the father unconsciously treats his daughter as a replacement wife, sexually and emotionally. The kid ends up expected to provide adult advice and adult emotional support to a parent.
- A documentary about the children of Holocaust survivors (Jews, BBC Four, June 2008) featured a woman who had survived Auschwitz but whose young daughter had been gassed there. Later, she settled in Britain, remarried and had another daughter, who was named after the first one.
- It was even once fairly common (and might still be...) to name a child after what the parents would've called a stillborn or aborted baby had it lived. Have fun in therapy, kid! Of course, back then it was more common when half your kids were definitely going to die before they turned five, but hey, at least it's nice to know you'll never have to make up a name for all of them!
- It was once fairly common to name a baby after its deceased sibling. The artist Vincent van Gogh was named after a brother who'd died one year before his own birth.
- As was Salvador Dalí.
- Nelson Mandela did this with his daughters.
- Peter Sellers' birth name was Richard Henry, but his parents nicknamed him Peter, the name of their short-lived first child. Eventually, he adopted that name as his own. This has not passed without ironic comment, given his later claims that he could only be his characters and never himself.
- Richard D. James.
- This practice was actually used as a plot point in Beethoven's Last Night.
- Alexander Hamilton's eldest and youngest sons were named Philip - the younger Philip was born less than a year after his brother died in a duel.
- Current Ashkenazi Jewish custom (the superstitious ones anyway) is to avoid naming children after people who died young, or at least not using it as their primary name, out of fear it would bring bad luck and cause the new child to also die young. However, the main tradition is to never name a child after someone who's alive (hence why you don't get too many Jewish Juniors), so naming a child after a deceased child is not out of the question. However, in most cases, the naming-for-the-deceased custom is so common that this trope is often averted.
- This comes with the note that naming children after family who died in the Holocaust is very common; many children and grand-children (and great-grandchildren) of Holocaust survivors end up with extremely long names as living memorials. There's a reason why it's been clinically shown that the descendants of Shoah survivors often have what's been called "PTSD by proxy".
- Totally subverted in Mongolian culture where, if a couple's children kept on dying young, they would name the newborn something like 'Vicious Dog', 'Not This One', 'No Name', 'Not a Human Being', or give a female name to a boy. This was to make the evil spirits leave them alone, or to confuse the spirits.
- Back when infant mortality was high, if a man wanted a "junior," he had to name the first born boy "Myself, jr.", and if that boy died, then the next boy born after the first junior's death would get named "Myself, jr." as well.
- Times were different. Not only were infant and child mortality higher, people didn't put a high premium on having a special name. 80% of the population might have one of maybe 20 names. After a family had a "junior", the next boy was John, then James, then Edward, then William. If you met someone with a wild, wacky name like Hugh, or Andrew, then you knew he probably had a lot of older brothers who had lived past childhood. It was just a different time. If you are talking as far back as the middle ages, then giving a child a "stand-out" name just wasn't something that would ever have occurred to people, any more than using a telephone. However, giving a child a name that had belonged to a large number of saints, therefore giving the child many patrons, was very good. Some families named every girl "Mary", with a different second name. If you are talking about later centuries, people were interested in maintaining dignity and, in a few centuries, modesty. By the Victorian Era, they liked a name that people could hear and spell. That's why Queen Victoria didn't name any children "4real," or "Urhinyss."
- In Maus, Art Spiegelman touches on this point, describing some warped sibling rivalry he had with his brother Richieu, who died in the Holocaust before he was born. Specifically because his parents kept a large photograph of Richieu and then, of course, Art's own father calls him Richieu at the end of the book.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber's habit of launching the careers of young musical actresses, his ex-wife Sarah Brightman among them, looks a lot weirder when you realize how much his newest find, Niamh Perry, resembles◊ Brightman◊.
- Ben Moody, co-founder of the band Evanescence, left the band in the middle of a tour after a falling out with co-founder (and childhood friend) Amy Lee◊. Before long, Moody created a sound-alike band named We Are The Fallen (based on one of Evansecence's album names) with American Idol contestent Carly Smithson◊.
- Long-running children's magazine show Blue Peter added a pet dog to the team, which died before the producers had worked out their contingency plan, but after having appeared on screen. They had no plan, and the kiddies would have been confused if it disappeared so soon after arriving, so they did the logical thing and sought out a replacement. When that eventually died, the producers felt that the pet had become familiar and they could deal with it properly.
- Woman pays $50000 to clone dog.
- Some non-pet owners, in an attempt to be nice, commit a massive faux pas when trying to cheer up a friend who has just lost a beloved pet. How? By getting a new one for them that they believe is identical. Trouble is, most pet owners want that one specific pet back, not one that looks like it. Better let them grieve and let them get a new pet on their own.
- When Ricky Gervais' talk-show host friend got him a Siamese kitten after his cat died on live tv, he took it surprisingly well and was comforted by how much his friend cared. This is probably because he loves animals and kittens are cute. He named the cat Oliver.
- On the other hand, some pet owners deliberately choose a new pet that is different as the similarity would bring back painful memories of the loss of the original.
- When George Harrison was still married to Pattie Boyd, Eric Clapton had a brief relationship with her very similar-looking sister Jenny, which ended after Jenny heard the song "Layla" and realized it was about Pattie.
- Director Peter Bogdanovich had a love affair with Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, which ended when Stratten was murdered by her jealous psycho ex-husband. Later, Bogdanovich married Stratten's sister.
- The National Hockey League's Winnipeg Jets. In 2011, True North Sports and Entertainment intended to buy the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes and move them to Winnipeg, as the Coyotes were the original Winnipeg Jets, who left Winnipeg in 1996 due to an aging arena and declining Canadian dollar. However, the league was staunchly adamant in keeping the Coyotes in Arizona, so True North went to the next team available for sale, the Atlanta Thrashers. Regardless of which team True North bought, Winnipeggers were happy to have their Jets back.
- This is actually somewhat common in north american sports, as the Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Colts, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Browns, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Times, Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, and Florida Marlins were all names after dead teams (with some, like the Rockies, names after a dead franchise in another sport).
- Subverted by one soldier whose drone was too damaged for repairs. When told a replacement would arrive, he said he didn't want another one, he wanted Scooby-Doo back.
- Dave Barry once wrote about how his daughter Sophie took in a bug from the porch which she named "Melvin". Melvin of course quickly died and he and his wife, instead of explaining this to her, kept replacing it with a new "Melvin" from the porch (there were a lot of those kinds of bugs apparently). The same column detailed his attempts to buy a pet fish for Sophie which he said had to "look like other fish in case - God forbid - we have to Melvinize it".